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As you may recall, in September 2022, EPA issued a proposed rule to designate two per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) — perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and their salts and structural isomers — as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as “Superfund.” EPA is currently reviewing comments received on this proposed rule.
On April 13, 2023, EPA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) asking the public for input regarding potential future hazardous substance designations of additional PFAS substances under CERCLA. The ANPRM includes:
The ANPRM announcement in the Federal Register is available at: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2023-04-13/pdf/2023-07535.pdf
More solutions and information at Liquids Management.
EPA will hold three complementary competitions to strategically distribute grant funding under the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund program. EPA will implement these programs in alignment with the President’s Justice40 Initiative and expects to open competitions for funding under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund by the summer of 2023.
The goal is to ensure that households, small businesses, schools, and community institutions in low-income and disadvantaged communities have access to financing for cost-saving and pollution-reducing clean technology projects. EPA aims to deliver tangible benefits, including lower energy costs, good-paying jobs, and improved public health outcomes to households, businesses, and communities. The three competitions will be:
EPA Feedback and Listening Sessions
EPA invites written technical feedback and comments on the competition descriptions as the Agency prepares the program for release as early as June 2023. Stakeholders may send their written feedback to by 11:59 pm ET on May 12. Over the next two weeks, EPA will convene six public listening sessions on this implementation framework. Listening session details and other information about the program are on the GGRF website.
Additional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Resources
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Play with ReFED’s interactive, fun, and educational tool!
Earth Day is a great time to remind you that food waste reduction is a top climate change strategy! As you’ll see in this addicting, educational, and fun ReFED tool – everyone helps make a difference. Every small change citizens and businesses make has a major impact on our planet’s health and well-being. Try it out and see how we are building solutions to reduce the 91 million tons of surplus food annually in the U.S.
The ReFED Insights Engine offers the most comprehensive examination of food waste in the United States by incorporating current data from a variety of sources, including public and proprietary datasets, expert interviews, case studies, and industry research. This powerful engine has several components, including:
Food Waste Monitor – A centralized repository of information built with data from more than 50 public and proprietary datasets and providing granular estimates of how much food goes uneaten in the U.S., why it’s happening, and where it goes.
Solutions Database – A stakeholder-specific, comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of 40+ food waste reduction solutions based on a range of impact goals, plus detailed fact sheets on each.
Impact Calculator – An interactive resource that quantifies the greenhouse gas emissions reduction, water savings, and donated meal recovery potential of different food surplus management scenarios in the U.S. by sector and food type.
Capital Tracker – A dashboard to monitor the flow of capital into food waste innovation, allowing users to understand the landscape, identify key players, and plan out future funding strategies.
Use a reusable water bottle, drinking straws, and shopping bags.
Around 380 million metric tons of plastic are being produced yearly; that’s roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. Approximately 91% of plastic is not recycled. Roughly half of our global annual plastic production is destined for a single-use product.
The average per person use is astounding; some can take 1,000 years to disintegrate.
Think of the money you’ll save along with planet Earth!
SCS Engineers periodically prepare SCS Technical Bulletins – short, clear summaries of rules, plans, and standards. In 2021, ASTM International published an updated consensus guidance document for evaluating environmental conditions at properties involved in commercial real estate transactions.
This SCS Technical Bulletin for the revised E1527-21, Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process addresses definitions and terminology, clarifies industry practice for the historical records review of the subject and adjoining properties, and provides for updates and additions to appendices, report outlines, and other collateral.
Our updated edition now includes the revised guidance speaks to the business risk associated with emerging contaminants, such as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Read, share, download the A New Standard Practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments Tech Bulletin here.
For more information about Environmental Due Diligence, please visit our website.
With climate change becoming a center of attention globally, much focus has pointed toward carbon capture and storage (CCS) in recent years. While USEPA has published general guidance for Class VI permitting, it is still a new permitting challenge for both scientists and regulators alike. Drawing on lessons learned from more familiar and well-developed regulatory frameworks will be beneficial.
In our Technical Bulletin, Applying Lessons Learned From Municipal Solid Waste and Coal Combustion Residuals to the Development of Testing and Monitoring Plans for CO2 Storage Projects, we focus on the testing and monitoring aspect of Class VI permitting and related complexities, including the project’s overall scale, enhanced costs, and enhanced regulatory risk. We discuss the key considerations for developing an effective CCS Testing and Monitoring Plan based on lessons learned from developed MSW and CCR monitoring programs, as well as how early planning and good judgment can help navigate the complexities associated with CCS projects and ultimately reduce those complexities and associated project costs.
Recommendations include meticulous site characterization efforts early in the CO2 storage project and tailoring the monitoring network. The latter includes placing monitoring wells based on multiphase modeling predictions, designing geochemically and geomechanically compatible monitoring wells, and using strategic statistical techniques to analyze and interpret monitoring data.
It is important to remember that for CO2 storage, groundwater monitoring is not intended to be the primary monitoring method for detecting fluid leakage and migration. It is only one of many required testing and monitoring methods. Even so, the monitoring network must be planned and established appropriately and then tightly coordinated with the other testing and monitoring methods to maximize the protection of underground sources of drinking water.
SCS Engineers will continue to post timely information, resources, and presentations to keep you well informed. These include additional guidance, industry reaction, and webinars with our teams using our website, on SCS Engineers LinkedIn, and on SCS YouTube on-demand forums.
Additional resources at your fingertips:
Green hydrogen is a clean fuel that produces only water when consumed in a fuel cell. Because it is produced from domestic resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind it is an attractive energy option for transportation and electricity generation applications.
SCS Engineers Dave Palmerton’s recent publication “Green Hydrogen – A New Frontier in Energy” evaluates the feasibility of hydrogen as green energy from production, transportation, storage, infrastructure investment, and environmental impact aspects. He discusses the technical and environmental challenges being addressed now through research, design, and development, and addressing the environmental obstacles to successful implementation of fuel cells and the corresponding hydrogen infrastructure.
Keep an eye on the Department of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Technologies Office site where DOE publishes the developing and testing complete system solutions that address all elements of infrastructure and vehicle technology, integrated hydrogen and fuel cell technologies validations for transportation, infrastructure, and electric generation in systems using real-world operating conditions.
Additional Related Resources:
A couple of decades ago, industry Environmental Managers (EM) reviewed and interpreted regulations, permit requirements, and reporting obligations and educated their operations personnel on requirements from the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. As usual, time flies, and those major pieces of environmental legislation are more than 50 years old now, and much of the framework remains unchanged. There have also been advances in the best control technologies and great strides in automated record keeping and reporting, enabling us as environmental compliance professionals to be more efficient and offering “clear skies” regarding a manageable workload. Sure, occasional exceedances, deviations, or releases require a four-alarm fire drill as an appropriate response or the integration of the most recent ISO 14001 version release. Still, for the most part, times were good.
Sustainability changes everything.
Environmental Managers read press releases from CEOs making bold claims that their company is adopting “zero” carbon or “net neutral” goals without a real baseline carbon inventory or a roadmap for accomplishing such aggressive measures. Not to say that setting stretch targets are a “bad thing.” On the contrary, they are good targets that improve environmental stewardship for companies that may not otherwise focus on such activities. John F. Kennedy’s famous “We choose to go to the Moon” speech set a bold target for landing on the moon, stretching our space program to new limits.
Meeting the New Challenge
The challenge for you, the EM, comes into play when the responsibility of this relatively new sustainability practice is now on your desk. Larger companies are hiring Sustainability Directors at a record pace which is vital to the planning and programming of new sustainability initiatives. But even then, there are situations where EMs are responsible for implementation and retrofitting plans or projects that are conceptual in nature. And if you don’t have the luxury of a Sustainability Director to lean on, you now have the additional responsibility of developing road maps and strategies.
Where can an Environmental Manager focus on impactfully?
After concluding your version of the Serenity Prayer, we suggest starting in these three areas:
These steps will go a long way toward planning, programming, and launching sustainability initiatives with measurable results. Environmental Managers are making a difference by collaborating with operations to convert sustainable ideas and goals into reality. SCS works with large and small public and private entities to support their actions.
About the Author: Steven D. Stewart, P.E. PMP, SCS Engineers. Project Director. LinkedIn. I look forward to hearing, ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for Environmental Managers.’ If you need help with your sustainability program, don’t hesitate to contact us at SCS Engineers. Look for Steve this week at the GreenBiz 2023.
Have you ever thought about what artificial intelligence (AI) can do for Sustainability? Can it reduce energy and water usage, manage climate change and greenhouse gas emissions? Well, we have at SCS Engineers. Using advanced AI technologies to achieve sustainable development is the new reality of Sustainability. Here are five ways to apply AI toward Sustainability:
AI and Sustainability are a match made in heaven. Artificial intelligence can help manage greenhouse gas emissions by measuring our carbon footprint and providing suggestions on how to reduce the same. It can make recommendations on which energy source is the most cost-effective for us.
AI is used in many industries to secure, measure, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Artificial Intelligence can use sensors to identify any damaged or malfunctioning equipment. The measurements are stored in a database to replace or repair defective parts and identify new process and maintenance efficiencies.
AI can help make our planet cleaner, safer, and more sustainable. AI powered by data is revolutionizing many industries, including waste management, transportation, and energy production. Wastewater management, smart grids, and water treatment are just a few examples of how artificial intelligence can positively impact our planet, including clean air, waste management, recycling, and water management worldwide.
Sustainability means we have to do more with less. For example, moving towards EVs or hydrogen fuel-based transportation can reduce carbon generation and our dependency on fossil fuels. Other efficiencies include:
AI has the potential to transform manufacturing, improve the quality of life, and even help with sustainable practices. Algorithms are designed to work with smart manufacturing to optimize production processes enabling factories to run more safely. In transportation, artificial intelligence can make supply chains more efficient and help reduce pollution from freight carriers.
Many sustainability initiatives in the field of artificial intelligence focus on minimizing environmental impacts and promoting the responsible development and use of AI. Some examples of these initiatives include:
These are just a few examples of sustainability initiatives in the field of artificial intelligence. Many other organizations and initiatives are working on these issues as well.
If you’d like learn more, contact our author and Director of Sustainability Programs, Ajay Vonkarey.
Related Areas of Interest
GHG emissions inventories, estimating GHG reductions, verification
Abdul Mulla-Saleh, PhD, PE, BCEE, joins SCS Engineers as a Project Director specializing in civil and environmental services for solid waste management and master planning, landfill permitting, site development, landfill expansions and closures.
“Abdul brings superior credentials to serve SCS’s clients. Our Southeastern engineering teams bring a holistic approach to solid waste management by combining field skills, advanced technology, and engineering experts to focus on sustainable solutions,” states Vice President Shane Fischer.
Dr. Mulla-Saleh is a licensed Professional Engineer in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina and a Board Certified Environmental Engineer who has supported large civil and environmental projects globally. His portfolio includes new site development and infrastructure projects, master plans for drainage and wastewater, solid waste management, hydrologic and hydraulic studies, flood control structures, pump stations, and roadways.
His successful track record includes projects in the US, where he completed environmental projects, including landfill engineering and solid waste management facilities design, sustainable waste management, including zero waste and carbon neutral concepts, and technical quality assurance.
Abdul is a published author and presents at industry and association educational events. He is a member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the International Solid Waste Association, and the Solid Waste Association of North America. He earned his PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of South Florida; his MS in Environmental Engineering also at the University of South Florida; and his BS in Civil Engineering at the University of South Alabama.
There is a demand for qualified professionals such as Abdul, and opportunities for those just beginning their careers at SCS Engineers. Each and every team at SCS has opportunities to help protect our water, air, and land for those interested in gaining experience or sharing their expertise with industries responsible for safeguarding the environment as they deliver essential services and products.
For more information about us, please watch our video to see what you can do for your business and community. If you prefer working outdoors as part of a talented, unique team please watch this short video. No matter your job at SCS, you will make a difference!
From the USEPA to headlines in the media, coverage of PFAS moving from wastewater to drinking water is a major concern. Furthermore, there are growing concerns about how much PFAS is in by-products that are recycled or reused from waste products. Topping that list is fertilizer.
Retail fertilizer products made from at least 50% biosolids commonly sold to the general public and used in farming contain PFAS, which could get into crops and stock, eating those crops. The Environmental Protection departments in some states are beginning to consider or pass state-level specific regulations on the content of PFAS in biosolids.
The December 2022 USEPA memo to states (pages 4-5) made these recommendations on biosolids as follows:
Tony Kollasch, an environmental consultant specializing in remediation, tells us to use precaution and learn more about what plans are underway in your state. In his Wisconsin Agri-Business article, BIOSOLIDS and PFAS – NUTRIENTS with a SIDE OF CONCERN, he walks readers through the most recent reports and studies using plain language.
The issues and questions that come up are solvable. There are treatments for removing PFAS, and as an environmental engineering and consulting firm, we solve these types of challenges. We encourage the safe use of by-products and urge you to learn more about specific products by joining associations where you can educate yourself – it’s good for business and for understanding pending regulations that may impact your operations. It will help you run your business sustainably by making sound decisions based on human health, the environment, and economic demand.